cover image The Year of the Lucy

The Year of the Lucy

Anne McCaffrey. St. Martin's Press, $15.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-312-93981-6

Mirelle Martin finds herself increasingly discouraged by marital turmoil, depleted self-esteem, and a propensity to neglect her artistic talent. Mirelle loves her husband, Steve, but his intense, volatile personality exhausts her, as do his jealous, sometimes violent, tirades. Mirelle stoically endures these outbursts, although the caustic criticism she customarily receives from Steve's overbearing mother wears her down. The elder Mrs. Martin scorns Mirelle largely because she is the illegitimate daughter of a famous singer and the Hungarian painter Lajos Neagu. To placate her mother-in-law, Mirelle conceals her provocative heritage by refusing to seek widespread public attention for her sculptures. Such subservience always outraged her friend Lucy, who, before she died, exhorted Mirelle to be more assertive. Fortunately, the void Lucy left is suddenly filled by concert pianist James Howell, a lonely man who coaxes Mirelle to self-awareness, then falls in love with her. McCaffrey, best known for her science fiction fantasy , depicts Mirelle's predicament with sensitivity and credibility, and she perceptively delineates this troubled artist's creative temperament. (September 15)